Facelift for Retirement Centre

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Bayhead Retirement Centre is set to get a major upgrade thanks to a capital grant from NHS Western Isles.

The Stornoway Old People’s Welfare Association facility was built in 1967 using funds raised by the association members, and was in need of refurbishment to bring it up to modern standards.

Western Isles Health Board provided a £26,210 capital grant to the organisation, after considering a bid for funds for the replacement of windows and upgrading of WC facilities.

Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson said: “One of the Board’s objectives is to shift the balance of care from the hospital to the community. Activities within the retirement centre help to provide additional care for people within the community setting.

“According to the latest data, lone pensioner households account for 17.3 per cent of total households in the Western Isles. For elderly people - especially those living on their own - time spent at the retirement centre in the company of others is highly valued and beneficial. Activities provided at the centre promote both physical and mental good health, and meals cooked on the premises by volunteers are healthy; with a focus on high quality nutrition.”

Stornoway Old People’s Welfare Association was originally set up to promote the welfare of older people through physical and mental recreation, physical improvement, promotion of health, and the relief of poverty, hardship, distress, disability and sickness in the elderly.

The Retirement Centre currently provides accommodation for a number of local groups including the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Group, the Art Group, and the Music Group.

Donald McKee from Stornoway Old People’s Welfare Association commented: “We are very grateful to NHS Western Isles for awarding this grant to us, which has so improved the facility. Apart from making the rooms much cheerier, the replacement of the windows has also enabled us to cut our heating bill substantially.

“For elderly people, especially those living on their own, time spent at the retirement centre in the company of others and taking part in various activities helps provide a focus in their lives. As a result, it is hoped that people will be enabled to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, reducing the demands on health and social care services.”